(9 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
This week, 8.28.09, on Bill Moyers Journal: Money-Driven Medicine
Produced by Academy Award winner Alex Gibney (TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE, ENRON: THE SMARTEST GUYS IN THE ROOM) and based on Maggie Mahar’s acclaimed book of the same name, MONEY-DRIVEN MEDICINE reveals how a profit-hungry “medical-industrial complex” has turned health care into a system where millions are squandered on unnecessary tests, unproven and sometimes unwanted procedures, and overpriced prescription drugs.
California Newsreel: Money Driven Medicine has more information and clips, like this trailer:
Watch Nightline’s feature (8/11/09) on Money-Driven Medicine
Maggie Mahar’s Book: Money-Driven Medicine: The Real Reason Health Care Costs So Much
Why is medical care in the United States so expensive? For decades, Americans have taken it as a matter of faith that we spend more because we have the best health care system in the world. But as costs levitate, that argument becomes more difficult to make. Today, we spend twice as much as Japan on health care – yet few would argue that our health care system is twice as good.
Instead, startling new evidence suggests that one out of every three of our health care dollars is squandered on unnecessary or redundant tests; unproven, sometimes unwanted procedures; and overpriced drugs and devices that, too often, are no better than the less expensive products they have replaced.
How did this happen? In Money-Driven Medicine, Maggie Mahar takes the reader behind the scenes of a $2 trillion industry to witness how billions of dollars are wasted in a Hobbesian marketplace that pits the industry’s players against each other. In remarkably candid interviews, doctors, hospital administrators, patients, health care economists, corporate executives, and Wall Street analysts describe a war of ”all against all” that can turn physicians, hospitals, insurers, drugmakers, and device makers into blood rivals. Rather than collaborating, doctors and hospitals compete. Rather than sharing knowledge, drugmakers and device makers divide value. Rather than thinking about long-term collective goals, the imperatives of an impatient marketplace force health care providers to focus on short-term fiscal imperatives. And so investments in untested bleeding-edge medical technologies crowd out investments in information technology that might, in the long run, not only reduce errors but contain costs.
In theory, free market competition should tame health care inflation. In fact, Mahar demonstrates, when it comes to medicine, the traditional laws of supply and demand do not apply. Normally, when supply expands, prices fall. But in the health care in…………